SPOTLIGHT

Senate Women on the Rise

They could account for more than a quarter of the chamber in the next Congress.

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JAN. 8 - In this Jan. 3, 2012 photograph, new Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith speaks about wanting to emphasize the commerce part of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce in her new office across from the State Fairgrounds in Jackson, Miss. The Brookhaven Republican is the state's first female agriculture commissioner who wants to see an increase of not only food grown in the state but the food processed here as well.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
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Kyle Trygstad
March 20, 2018, 8:47 a.m.

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith’s expected appointment to the Senate would make her the first woman senator from the state, the sixth sitting Republican woman senator, and the 23rd current woman senator from either party.

The Senate’s record-breaking female population already increased this year with the January appointment of Tina Smith in Minnesota, and there are a few opportunities for another jump in November.

The Senate map features Reps. Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee, Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally in Arizona, and Jacky Rosen in Nevada, as well as Wisconsin state Sen. Leah Vukmir. But there will also be plenty of vulnerable incumbents, starting with Hyde-Smith, who could face challengers from both parties in the November all-party special election.

Also on the ballot are Sens. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, who will all face well-funded competition in states President Trump carried.

But in a potentially strong Democratic cycle, women—who didn’t surpass 10 percent of the chamber until this millennium—could conceivably make up more than a quarter of the Senate by next year.

Kyle Trygstad

This post was updated.

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